It is sunny outside, and I feel like we can catch up with some of summer activities, let ourselves enjoy summer for a bit longer. And I am super happy with this weather, since I am planning a little trip of my own.
But taking pictures with the sun shining very bright might get a bit difficult, because it creates high contrast and shadows become very blueish-black and highlights become very white. On the other hand, cloudy weather can create some amazing lights to take pictures in, especially during the sunrise.
Gloomy weather is some sort of magical weather for me to take pictures. Especially when it’s pouring. It got this mysterious aura in it, makes everything a bit dreamy. And yes, maybe a bit dark and sad, but on the other hand, we can’t always have happy-go-lucky kind of pictures, can’t we?
I learned to enjoy all kind of weather for my pictures, as long as I will not end up being sick with flu for a week :D
Guess what? “Hello, it’s August” recently turned the proud age of 1 year! My blog been here for way longer than that, but after I rebranded it, moved it, and changed direction a bit, it was reborn as “Hello, it’s August” and probably no surprise that it’s birthday is on August.
Second guess what is that my birthday is also in August (yes, and my name is August, what a coincidence). I celebrated my birthday a week ago with my friends, spend some time with the people I care most about and got the most amazing presents.
I noticed that even during the year, my blog changed along with my changing life, and blog for a while now, became the part of my life. I can promise you, that it will change even more, since I want to be more open about life and less of creating illusions of life.
Thank you for being with me trough this journey :)
When I was a child, my mother used to take me places around the world. And every city we went, if there was a famous church or museum we went there. I hated it at the time. Museums were boring and churches were just straight up depressing for me. But after a while, when I started travelling with my friends, I started dragging them to museums and famous churches, and sometimes, I saw the same look on their faces as I had on my own when I was little. But most of the time we talked about art, felt free to not like some of the pieces, felt free to stand around the ones we did liked, and I realised that I learned so much.
And that has build up the mindset in me. I realised that I should never pass the opportunity to go somewhere, see new places and explore. I realised that the more I see, the more I know, and knowledge is power. Sometimes I get inspired by new places, sometimes I take pictures of the places, sometimes I just sit in the car while people take me places, and this is one of the best feelings for me.
So the summer is not over yet, and there’s still time to enjoy it, so take some time off and go visit places, make time to go somewhere you always wanted to go, breath in some fresh air and never stop exploring.
As a freelancer, I have freedom to choose my work hours, and this summer I’ve been managing a four workdays week, meaning I have a Friday as a part of my weekend. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but I realised that summer in Lithuania is short enough to let it slip away. And you still have to pay the bills, so I compromised.
Same amount of work – less time
I still have the same amount of work, and it means I have to do it in 4 days instead of 5, and that requires a proper system, time management and it means sometimes working after my work hours. Is it worth it? Totally.
Inventing a system
Mondays feel hard for me, because after 3 days of fun, getting back to work seems a bit harsh, though I tend to get the nastiest things done on Monday, because I’m all refreshed, rested and ready for work. My Mondays usually are crazy productive. I wake up and make a list of things to do, starting with the most urgent and the most uninspiring.
As the week goes by, I cross of items of my list and add some new items, but I like to do all the work that I am excited about only after I finish the ugly tasks, so it ends up being mid/end of my work week.
Informing your clients
Some of the clients thinks, that if they work – you work. So I usually inform clients about my days off so they wouldn’t disturb me on MY weekend. Some of the clients tend to think I work on weekends too, so I tend to be very clear that I won’t be sitting by my computer, or I will be travelling somewhere, and I will get back at them on Monday.
What is the gain?
I have time to travel and to rest, to explore places. Two days off usually stopped me from going somewhere further, because it seemed too little – one day you come there, and on the next one you have to leave. Managing to have that extra day gives me a bit more freedom, and every weekend seems to be a little bit of a vacation instead of feeling like few days off. Almost every weekend I went out of town, and I still am, I explored amazing places I never been before and took a lot of pictures. Of course, it is all doable in two days, but 3 days feels like half of the week and on my calculations that is pretty awesome. (more…)
While riding a train in the early Monday morning from one city to another, I decided to write a post. After this weekend of traveling a bit around the country, I feel rejuvenated and ready to work, but it wasn’t always like this. Some Mondays felt painfully not productive, and I felt like it was setting me for a bad, unproductive week, going trough work waiting for the weekend.
But then I realised that I chose this path myself, and it used to bring me joy, and started thinking what got me off track and how to get myself back on track again. I started making guidelines to myself, hoping to live the max of my week not only 3 days that I call weekend. So here it is:
Create a plan
Whenever I travel, I found that I usually set my mind clear for an upcoming week. I wake up into Monday with brave heart and clear head. The only thing I lack is a decent plan. Having a pretty strict plan makes a transition from weekend mood to work mood so much easier. I have a planning system, so all the small or not so pleasant tasks go into Monday morning, some of them I finish before even getting home.
I believe that everyone has a week planning system, that works for them. I believe that my system needs a separate blog post so I will not talk much about it now.
Being stuck on weekend mode is something I’ve been dealing with a bit. But I learned that it comes from lacking motivation also. So having your motivation points clear keeps you excited about your work and gets you going and seeing positive things in your work not only weekend.
I like to create an actually points I want to achieve, either it’s something I want to buy, a destination I want to travel to or just a project I want to release. And I like to have my motivation points very precise, especially if it is about buying something I tend be more motivated if I actually know the price of the item I want to buy, if it’s a project I like to set up the date it needs to be released on or until.
Since I am the boss of my own, I need to control my time. Tasks, that are robotic and not very creative requires just time and not much of thinking, so I tend to do them until I finish them, others – like creating something – gets sticky and not as productive as you wish they were with more time you spend on them. So it is better to split them in parts. So you could regain distance and see objectively.
I set up periods of time I am planning to spend on each task and tend to not spend more than I planned to spend. That keeps me as productive as possible, though not switch tasks too often, unless you finish them, because switching tasks usually takes time too.
Procrastination is the killer
If you want to kick Monday in it’s behind, just deal with the ugliest tasks at the beginning. Finishing on 2-3 not so pleasant tasks before the lunch break feels amazing. I feel such a boss. And the second part of the day feels so much easier.
I think that procrastinating things, that you don’t like to do only makes them grow bigger in your head until they get from your being unpleasant to being impossible to do or start doing, so I usually set time until I do the task, and end up doing it right away instead, because why wait? Just get it over with.
Take a break
Taking a break is really important. Either it is a lunch break, or even a nap break. I mean, naps are such a kindergarten thing, but when you are tired your productivity drops, so what is the point of working at home if you can’t take a nap when you need it? I learned that taking a 45 minutes nap sometimes saves you that 45 minutes afterwards when you wake up all relaxed but yet productive. Especially when you feel tired and every task automatically feels so much harder or your quality drops.
Lunch break is important as hell too. I tend to get anxious and grumpy when I am hungry, so having a good lunch break at the good time of the day is crucial. I usually make a plan that has a planned lunch break. It also serves as my time so scroll social media and I know it might not be as good, but it helps me to take my mind off my work.
And what makes your week productive? Do you have any Monday rituals?
If someone would’ve asked me “what’s next?” more than a month ago, I would probably show my plan or at least tell 5 steps that I have had planned for my future. But the past month, that might have been the longest month of my life, made me completely fall apart and left me without a solid plan and got me back up on my feet again. But this time it was different.
In the end of spring some major changes in my life happened and it got me to a place, where I felt like nothing is ever real and everything is just a copy of a copy of a copy. This led me to a strange feeling that nothing had meaning anymore, or that things that used to make sense to me, did not made sense to me anymore.
After this ground shake, I tried to go back to one thing I know – planning. I once again started asking myself what my priorities are, what I want to do in my life, what I want to achieve and what my dreams are. And for the first time in a long time I had no answers. I was completely lost. My plans didn’t even made sense to me nor did my former dreams.
And then I did a thing, that was completely out of my character – I stopped planning and stopped asking myself “what’s next”. I let a lot of things just go on their own. I decided to deal with things as they come my way instead of trying to predict the future.
I traveled, went to places I never been to or wanted to visit again. Not far, I just found there are plenty of places to discover just around me, places I’ve never found time to visit before. This was my form of healing.
And with every place I visit, I find some answers, I find ideas and things I want to do, with every place I visit, “what’s next” becomes more of “whatever next” – making the future less scary and more exciting. I now believe that future is holding amazing things for me and making strict plans only prevents opportunities from happening.